Is there an “artistic temperament”? Do people of only certain political stripes go into the arts more than others?
Both Brian Niemeier and Rawle Nyanzi have discussed these recently, with Brian focusing more on the traditional Right’s refusal to fight as the Left fights, with Rawle concerned more with why conservatives don’t go into the arts despite lamenting that they have no influence in the arts.
Art is not immediately useful; it neither grows your food nor supplies your energy. Except for a handful of megastars, art is low-paid. Most artists rely on either a job or on other people to support them in their endeavors; “don’t quit your day job” is a cliche for a reason, as is “starving artist.” It requires the mind to break with conventional modes of thinking and spend much time speculating on bizarre possibilities. Art requires one to focus on emotion.
This is as far from the conservative mindset as one can get.
. . . conservatives are cowards. They talk a good game about standing on principle, but the inescapable conclusion is that they don’t really believe what they’re saying. People who truly believe in and are informed by principles act on them.
I’m inclined to agree with Brian, but this refers especially to a certain type of conservative. The kind that’s probably a midwit at best but wants everybody to think they’re smart, so they parrot what the culture at large tells them is the right thing to think–a culture that is against everything they purport to stand for, mind–while offering some nominal opposition.
This is yet another reason why the “conservative/liberal” dichotomy is inaccurate and outdated, and the real distinction is globalist/nationalist. Great men and women of the past who’d be considered on the Right today fully understood the importance of emotion and rhetoric. Modern “conservatism” feels artificial and soulless in a lot of respects.
But let’s stick with the terms that we have.
Does this all mean that conservatives are at, as Rawle puts it, a psychological disadvantage when it comes to the arts?
I say no.Full disclosure: I identify more with the Right, but I’m kind of artsy-fartsy and have often made my far more practical father wonder what the hell is wrong with that kid?
- I have tried to make music my career, but let personal setbacks more than financial ones get the best of me.
- I had aspirations of being a professional artist, preferably in comic books though I did dally with graphic design, but came to law through discussions with practical family members who appeared to my practical side.
- My politically conservative friends often find me too “weird” for their tastes, and too willing to mix it up.
So I’m familiar with both sides of this equation. Artists should treat art like a business. How do you marry these two aspects?
That’s not what this post is about though. This post is about trying to understand whether the artistic type is inherently political.
I don’t buy it.
I contend that by abandoning the arts, conservatives created this illusion of being temperamentally unsuited.
Plenty of practical, conservative types are artistic. They are just not let into the industries that their ideological opponents control.
Luckily, with gatekeepers mattering less and less, this will eventually prove to be no obstacle at all.
Thus, I don’t agree with Rawle that the perceived leftist tendency to deal with speculation or emotion–or being supported by others!–gives them a “psychological advantage” in art. As we see, many converged, overly political movies, TV shows, and books utterly fail in the storytelling department because of their overtly political nature.
The only advantage I can see, psychological or otherwise, is the fact that the gatekeepers are also of the Left.
This goes to Brian’s point about refusal to fight. Conservatives don’t like being told what to do and don’t like telling others what to do.
But your business isn’t government. A person has every right to treat their own business or organization as a dictatorship. Conservatives believe that the purity of their ideals will inspire their enemies to see their way of thinking.
Bullshit. Verifiable, irrefutable bullshit.
All sticking to “muh principles!” does is ensure that you will be disadvantaged. Unilateral disarmament does not work. As I’ve written before:
Start cooperative. In other words, play a Y.
Retaliate when necessary. If the other side plays along, keep playing Ys. If they play an X, play one right back. Play Xs until they see the error of their scorched-earth ways. If the other side plays a Y, you should do likewise until they play an X. It’s like trying to discipline a small child.
Forgive. If, after retaliation, the other side shows a willingness to play nice, you can go back to playing metaphorical Ys. However, they are on notice that if they mess with you, you will hit them right back twice as hard.
Be clear and consistent. Again, it’s like raising a child: You don’t want there to be any confusion about the rules or the consequences for breaking them.
Otherwise, never fighting back just allows the bad behavior to continue.
It’s Schoolyard 101: the dirtiest player dictates the rules of the game. Conservatives choose the soft narcissism of being the most rigidly principled guy in the room.
This is the real psychological disadvantage. By trying to stay above it all to assure their own egos that they’re the most principled dudes in town, they’ve entirely ceded the battlefield.
I could write an entire post about this, but suffice it to say that conservative disinterest in fighting back led to the conditions where they’re frozen out of the arts. This in turn discourages them from even trying.
Where’s the joy in postmodernism? Where’s the truth, the beauty, the life?
This is the psychological advantage that the Right has. This is why the Right is successful when it can get its work out there.
And this is why it can no longer be afraid to fight back.